Aphro Cuisine Recipe: Steamed Scallops in a Pond of Tea and Peas
APHRO CUISINE—JUNE 2015
The inspiration for this recipe came to me through quite mystic circumstances. As I sat solo at a small table listening to live experimental jazz entangling itself with the dreamy Japanese bamboo flute, I closed my eyes. I was immediately transported to a landscape in my mind beside a fresh Asiatic pond. I started to taste my surroundings. Everything tasted bright and green—I could taste the minerals, the leaves, the water, the creatures, and I knew this had to be cooked. My first cross-medium inspiration of this kind! So the flavor profile of this improvised dish might best be described as free-jazz fusion. Feeling adventurous?
Now, let me highlight how important it is that you source clean, fresh scallops for the full experience. While sourcing ingredients for this recipe I happened upon the softest, sweetest sea scallops I have ever tried, and they shone through the earthy green flavors, like silken butter of the sea. It is worth the extra buck for the U/15 Sea Scallops.
Ingredients for two:
6 large sea scallops
¾ cup frozen peas
½ cup unfiltered sake
A few slices of lemon peel (avoiding white pith)
8 to 12 mint leaves
1½ tsps matcha green tea powder
1 tbsp mild oil like almond, avocado or macadamia
2 tbsp butter
1½ cups vegetable broth (if you can’t find a good quality or homemade broth, it’s best to use water, as the flavor of some store-bought broths will overpower this delicate dish)
Salt and pepper
A few nasturtium leaves, and a good fistful of bamboo leaves—a ten-minute walk around your neighborhood should procure these!
Heat a saucepan over a low flame for a few minutes, then add your butter and once melted, toss in the peas. Fry for a few seconds, shaking the pan around, then add your sake. Add broth (or water) and lemon peels.
Meanwhile, mix half the matcha powder with the oil and set aside for garnishing. Remove the nasturtium stems in preparation for garnishing.
Prepare your double boiler or steamer—fill with water, place on heat and place the handful of bamboo leaves on the bottom of the steaming chamber. This will be the nest in which your precious li’l scallops will steam and infuse. Prepare the scallops with a little salt and lemon.
By now, about half the liquid from your peas should have evaporated. Remove the lemon peels and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a blender, add mint and the other half of the matcha powder and blend until very smooth.
Pop your scallops gently on their bamboo blanket, cover with a lid and steam for just under two minutes. A little more or less depending on their size. You want them to still have just a millimeter or so of shininess in the middle.
Pour soup into a wide bowl, scatter your leaves around the pond, place your scallops atop their lily pads, sprinkle remaining matcha, and drizzle with matcha oil.
There you have your own edible aquatic terrarium. And work of art.
Recipe and photography by Megan McCulloch
APHRO CUISINE Eating is a ritual. It enriches our daily lives, enlivens our body and mind, and when we savour and indulge, evokes our sensuality. Aphro Cuisine is not only a seductive culinary and sensory project, but a way of life. A way to benefit and enjoy more deeply the vital potent energy that food brings us every day, and I’m here to share this food philosophy with you!